Thursday, December 19, 2013

Your Daily Ralph: Something personal this time

Those of you who read my blog know that usually I speak of writing or I do book reviews or some such thing. Today is going to be a little different. I'm going to speak of something deeply personal to me that I'm having to deal with. You see, this past Sunday, 12/15/13, my dad passed away. He had been sick with Parkinson's and dementia the past four years, and every year I saw a decline in him. He was at the point now where he was only able to eat pureed food and he had recently lost the ability to speak, all due to the Parkinson's.

But two days before thanksgiving he fell and banged his head. He ended up with bleeding on the brain. When I went to see him in the hospital he was awake and trying to communicate with me. Then when I went back the day after thanksgiving he was unconscious. I was told this was normal due to the brain bleed he had. As the days passed it became clear he  wasn't going to wake up any time soon if at all. Every so often his eyes would open and it seemed like he saw us but we never knew for sure. After two weeks of this he was sent back to the nursing home. Less than 36 hours later I received a phone all that he was in distress and they were sending him back to the hospital. He died there a few short hours later.

I know certain things that I'm pretty straightforward about, even pragmatic where my dad was concerned. He was 81 years old and had lived the past 4 years of his life in declining health. He wasn't the man he used to be by a wide margin. But he was still my dad. When Avengers hit dvd I loaded it up on my laptop and brought it to the nursing home to watch with him. He loved it. I used to read to him too every so often. But his attention span was going, that was the dementia kicking in.
In early Oct my mother and I took him out for his birthday. I remember having to literally pick him up out of the car and carrying him to the wheelchair where I placed him in it. He was down to 135 lbs. , He at one point had been 190.

I knew he didn't have much time left, but I always figured it was another year plus away before he would leave us all. So even though I knew he was unconscious the past three weeks I was still not ready for him to leave us and return to heaven.

It's been 4 days now and I'm still not used to the idea that he's gone. I have to assume I never will get used to it. I've been fighting back tears for days in various moments. I was asked to give a eulogy at the wake two nights ago and fought back tears through most of it. At one point I had to stop and compose myself before going on.

Like every father and son throughout life we would argue and then have great moments together talking or watching a movie, going on vacations having family dinners and God only knows what else. He was a great father to the four of us. He was a hard working man who did the best he could for us all. He was also a character who did all kinds of crazy things that made us all laugh. To say we're going to miss him will be such an understatement. I already do, but I've been missing him a little more each year the past few as he began to slip away. Still he was there for the most part. Even though he really couldn't speak anymore, he was always able to understand what I was saying.

To say the least I'm very saddened by his death. It's been a terribly long week, and today was the first day where I had nothing to do. He was buried yesterday (With full military honors, which was beautiful.) Tuesday was the wake and Monday had been all the preparation leading up to it all. Today was the first quiet day where I had too much time on my hands where I ended up sitting around thinking about him. I think there are going to be a lot more of these.

So for those of you whose fathers are still around, spend as much time as you can with them, especially if they are in failing health at all. enjoy every moment you can get with them. You won't regret it in the end.

Rest in Peace Dad,
I love you. 
Ralph L. Angelo Sr.

Ralph L. Angelo Jr.

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